Improved Heart Statistics

Patient Expert

Sometimes I'm tired. Sometimes I feel lazy. Sometimes I don't feel like writing my blog. I've been working with the American Heart Association and other organizations for years. I've worked to build awareness about stroke and how to prevent it. Having been there, I don't want anyone else to go through what I did. Or if they do, I hope they have the outcome I did, a full recovery. I've been writing this blog entry for two years now. I often wonder if my words are ever helpful to anyone. I hope so.

Sometimes I feel like I really don't have anything to say that would make a difference. Then I read some of the comments readers leave and I feel good. It's nice to know my efforts are reaching people. Then I hear of new data from the Centers for Disease Control and know all the work being done to build awareness about heart disease and stroke is worth it.

The new data released by the CDC shows that deaths caused by coronary heart disease and stroke are down by 25.8 percent and 24.4 percent, respectively, since 1999. I think this is a huge. The American Heart Association had hoped to reach this goal of reducing deaths for coronary heart disease by 2010. But it's been done and almost achieved for stroke too. But while we can sit back and enjoy these new numbers, it's no time to slow down. Because even though these numbers are encouraging, heart disease and stroke are still the number one and number three causes of death in the United States. And several major risk factors for both are still too high and several are currently on the rise.

According to the American Heart Association, the number of people with uncontrolled hypertension has fallen by only 16 percent since 1999. The number of people with elevated blood cholesterol is down 19 percent and tobacco use is down 15 percent. The rate of physical inactivity has only declined by 2.5 percent, by far the most alarming statistic. What's worse, is the rates for obesity and type II diabetes are actually on the rise and showing up at earlier ages. This is why American Heart Association president Dan Jones, M.D. responded to the new data as being a victory that could be short-lived if these risk factors that lead to heart disease and stroke are not also reduced. Continued efforts in educating Americans about the importance of taking better care of their health is vital.

So, I'll keep writing to you and doing all I can to help people realized their risk factors. Because together I believe we can change our lifestyles to reduce the risk and live longer, healthier lives.